FanDuel - WFBC

July 22, 2004

Blame Canada: Calling the conflict in Iraq the "stupidest war ever," Toronto Blue Jays player Carlos Delgado has been avoiding "God Bless America" during games.

posted by rcade to baseball at 10:20 AM - 48 comments

I love how this protest wasn't even noticed until very recently. Obviously it's something personal, and he hasn't gone out of his way to convert anyone else to his cause or anything. Good on him for being true to himself. I wonder if there's more to this than what the article shows, but if there is, I wouldn't expect to hear it from him. (A semi-related aside: I've personally been boycotting major league baseball since 1994. After players & management decided they'd rather kill the world series off than give up a few bucks on each side of the equation, I swore I'd never give MLB another dollar of my hard-earned money, and to this day I've stuck to that promise. Lots of my friends still go to games and buy jerseys and stuff regularly, and that's fine. I'm aware of what's going on in the game, I can talk about the day-to-day of it, but I'll never, ever give my meager earnings to those onanistic, apathetic, disrespectful, selfish multimillionaires again.)

posted by chicobangs at 10:50 AM on July 22

This story has been around for a few weeks. I heard it talked about on Mike and Mike (ESPNRaio) and saw it covered in one of the trillion sports sites I hit each morning. It didn't bother me then and it doesn't bother me now. He stands for the National Anthem and he hasn't drawn attention to himself by blasting off in the media. He only discusses it when he is asked about it. I obviously don't agree with him, but I respect and accept his right to voice his opinion. Those who don't are commiting acts far more "un-American" than what he is doing. (And yes, I know he isn't American.)

posted by gilcintron at 10:55 AM on July 22

I'm glad for him. I'm glad he has the balls to make his opinion known.

posted by blarp at 11:07 AM on July 22

In the weeks gone by when this story has been around I have read that his thing is more about the former American military testing site of Vieques in Peurto Rico rather than Iraq. He has an opinion on Iraq of course but I believed this was more about Vieques than Iraq. and what the Blame Canada South Park reference is about.... I have no idea. Canada has almost nothing to do with this.

posted by gspm at 11:10 AM on July 22

Also don't miss the NY Times' columnist William Rhoden on the matter. (goober316/widget @ NYTimes.com) I agree with his stance: it's refreshing to see a professional sports player take a stand on something. He's protesting in a totally respectful manner; good for him.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:15 AM on July 22

Well said, gilcintron. I wish more people were as tolerant as you.

posted by dusted at 11:15 AM on July 22

I agree with Delgado. This war is a travesty fought on trumped-up pretenses that destablizes the world and diverts resources that should have been used fighting terrorists. What do we have to show for 900 U.S. military casualties, thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties, and billions in expenditures? One of the reasons we got into the conflict in the first place was our lack of respect for dissent. This should be a country where people who raise contrarian views are celebrated, not ostracized. I'm pleasantly surprised that a pro athlete -- in a contract year no less -- has the balls to stand up for his beliefs.

posted by rcade at 11:31 AM on July 22

rcade, right on.

posted by garfield at 11:35 AM on July 22

"the stupidest war ever." Ok, I have to take issue with the veracity of this claim. The title of stupidest war ever has a lot of competition. I think perhaps World War I would be a good example, or maybe the 100 years war, or any number of wars through history. Delgado sounds infantile and stupid using this kind of rhetoric. Is he either ignorant of history and reality or is he just being a demagogue? Probably just ignorant. Indeed, rcade, your criticisms are certainly warranted, and supported with actual arguments and information. Color me surprised for hoping that a pro athlete would be able to use descriptive phrases more complex than that of a 6th grader. Talk about "biggest abuse of the word 'stupid', ever."

posted by insomnyuk at 11:55 AM on July 22

I'll never, ever give my meager earnings to those onanistic, apathetic, disrespectful, selfish multimillionaires again. I respect your conviction (my wife still will not get fuel at exxon), but do you really believe that sweeping generalization only relates to baseball players? Baseball players, football players, basketball players, I doubt there's much difference between them, and to not support onanistic (had to look that one up), apathetic, disrespectful, selfish multimillionaires it seems to me you'd have to give up sports entirely. As far as the topic, I'll be the lone voice of dissent. I don't care what any baseball player thinks about the war (pro or against). I don't care what political party he belongs to, nor is abortion stance. I like my sports completely seperate from my world/political discussions, and I have no idea why it's refreshing for someone who can hit a ball with a bat better than 99.9 percent of the population to take a stand on anything outside of his sport. Imagine every athlete taking a stand and suddenly sports becomes hollywood. Imagine everyone on sportsfilter giving their views on the war and it suddenly becomes metafilter. No thanks.

posted by justgary at 11:57 AM on July 22

Delgado sounds infantile and stupid using this kind of rhetoric. That was actually my first thought when I read the post. That line reads like a 9 year old kid giving his views on the war.

posted by justgary at 12:00 PM on July 22

I have no idea why it's refreshing for someone who can hit a ball with a bat better than 99.9 percent of the population to take a stand on anything outside of his sport. Because his sport decided to take a stand on something that had nothing to do with it? I totally agree with the notion of separation, but MLB started the politicization. He happened to disagree with it, and should be allowed to do something when it invades his professional life.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:08 PM on July 22

Justgary: If someone has been given the platform of celebrity, I don't understand why we look down on them for using that opportunity to promote their beliefs, rather than simply promoting themselves. I admire people like Martin Sheen (among the left wingers) and the late Steve Allen (among the right-wingers) for trying to redirect some of that fame towards worthy causes. Ninety nine percent of all athletes and other celebrities are timid because they're afraid of saying anything that might hurt their career or advertising marketability. So that's why I admire it when someone does what Delgado is doing, and takes an unpopular or controversial stand in spite of any consequences he might face.

posted by rcade at 12:17 PM on July 22

but MLB started the politicization I agree. That's why I stated that I didn't care if he was for or against the war. And I feel the same way about mlb. and should be allowed to do something when it invades his professional life. Agreed. As long as he doesn't disrupt the game, he can stand on his head during god bless america as far as I'm concerned. I just don't see why it's refreshing nor applaudable, especially when the words out of his mouth are "stupidest war ever".

posted by justgary at 12:18 PM on July 22

I don't understand why we look down on them for using that opportunity to promote their beliefs, rather than simply promoting themselves.. I don't look down on them, I just don't care. I understand what you're saying about sheen, but comparing delgado to someone like martin sheen who, regardless if I agree with him or not, has actively participated in marches and actually done work to help promote his causes is a bit of a stretch. Delgado, in reality, doesn't bother me because he wasn't trying to draw attention to himself. And maybe I'm a cynic but I have no doubt that some athletes/actors promote their beliefs in order to promote themselves (the old saying, all publicity is good publicity...and free). Besides, most athletes are not jordan or tiger woods. Those athletes would be risking millions. But the majority of athletes are not, and if you can hit 300 or throw 95 mph you'll have a job. I don't see much of a risk factor.

posted by justgary at 12:37 PM on July 22

I understand what you're saying about sheen, but comparing delgado to someone like martin sheen who, regardless if I agree with him or not, as actively participated in marches and actually done work to help promote his causes is a bit of a stretch. You should read that article by Rhodan that's linked above before you make assertions about what Delgado has or hasn't done.: Delgado, who was signed by Toronto when he was 16, spent two years involved in the movement to force the Navy to stop using Vieques as a testing site. The military ended the exercises on May 1, 2003. Now, Delgado and others want the United States government to help clean up the economic, psychological and health messes it left behind. He has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars toward that effort and solicited other Puerto Rican celebrities to join the campaign against the aftereffects.

posted by ursus_comiter at 12:41 PM on July 22

Agreed. As long as he doesn't disrupt the game, he can stand on his head during god bless america as far as I'm concerned. I just don't see why it's refreshing nor applaudable, especially when the words out of his mouth are "stupidest war ever". I find it refreshing because I like my sports heros to have personality. I'm pretty tired of hearing "we just gotta get the puck to the net" every single intermission interview of Hockey Night in Canada. Yeah, I'm a bit puzzled with his choice of words there; he's never struck me as the inarticulate type. In his defence, those are the words that AP chose to use. He's got more in the NY Times column. Do read it.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:45 PM on July 22

As much as possible I see God Bless America is a patriotic song, rather than a political one. In my mind it symbolizes Americans from all walks of life, with all sorts of beliefs. When it's played at baseball games, particularly in NYC, it's a remidner of 9/11 and the unity that followed. I know plenty of folks who feel the same way as Delgado, and they still go to the ballpark everyday and sing louder than any of the folks around them. I have no problem with Delgado's views or his choice to take a stand, but I think he's wrong in the avenue he has taken. It's kinda like booing the Star Spangled Banner... Those songs don't belong to one half of Americans, they represent all of us, and stand for our right to be on either side of it. He should wear a ribbon or a patch or write an Op/Ed instead. Oddly, I believe God Bless America was orginally written as a "peace song". Don't quote me on that, but I heard that somewhere.

posted by 86 at 12:49 PM on July 22

I'm listening to the Jeff Rickard show on Sporting News Radio, and he's going over some of Delgado's charity efforts. He's laudably active, supporting lots of projects to improve Puerto Rico. If you look at Delgado's contract situation, it's easy to see that the guy might have cost himself monetarily with this public stance. If the controversy's big enough that Yankees fans are chanting "USA! USA!" when he bats, how many fewer teams are going to be looking at him in the off-season?

posted by rcade at 12:56 PM on July 22

He should be able to express himself as he sees fit.

posted by garfield at 12:57 PM on July 22

God Bless America was not written as a peace song. It was a straight up God-and-country march right from the beginning. In fact, Woody Guthrie heard it, and got so angry at the jingoism in it that he wrote This Land Is Your Land essentially as a protest. (Was that what you were thinking of, 86?) And -- okay. Look, just because Delgado doesn't have the vocabulary of Dennis Miller doesn't disqualify him from having an opinion. And he may not be Jordan or Tiger, but he was having a good look at a salary in the eight figures next season. That may have changed, but he's way better than your average player. He is taking a bit of a risk by doing this, and I respect him for it. He might be just a big lunkhead with a rare public platform, but he's also a citizen, and he's's got a right to speak his mind in his arena just like you do in yours. I can't believe I'm defending a rich ballplayer to anyone. (And justgary, I know it's a little hypocritical of me to get baseball players more than anyone else, though no other sport has canceled their main showcase event basically out of spite. And admittedly, if the Stanley Cup gets wiped out next year, I might give up on major league sports entirely.)

posted by chicobangs at 12:58 PM on July 22

Color me surprised for hoping that a pro athlete would be able to use descriptive phrases more complex than that of a 6th grader. Talk about "biggest abuse of the word 'stupid', ever." That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. But bare in mind that a great deal of the population have trouble articulating the frustration and anger they feel when baring witness to an unjust action against their own people or others. Other members here have already "testified" for Delgado's intelligence. I think small gestures and simple statements are more powerful than speeches. People don't like feeling as if they are being lectured. You're right; he's just a ballplayer. He's not Gandhi. But he's entitled to his opinion as well.

posted by lilnemo at 01:11 PM on July 22

God Bless America was not written as a peace song. It was a straight up God-and-country march right from the beginning. In fact, Woody Guthrie heard it, and got so angry at the jingoism in it that he wrote This Land Is Your Land essentially as a protest. Chicobangs beat me to it. I'll sing Woody's tune happily any day [and with ALL the lyrics intact], but even the title of God Bless America implies in a none too subtle way that I'm not wanted as an American.

posted by ursus_comiter at 01:11 PM on July 22

Indeed, I never said he was not entitled to his opinion. However, his rhetoric ignores reality. I challenge anyone to make a compelling case that shows the Iraq War is the 'stupidest war ever.' Why couldn't he just say he thought it was 'really stupid' or 'a horrible, bad idea' or something which would have been within his intellectual reach without sounding nearly as absurd.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:15 PM on July 22

ok, please admit the popularity of the phrase 'worst _____ ever.' case closed.

posted by garfield at 01:22 PM on July 22

You should read that article by Rhodan that's linked above before you make assertions about what Delgado has or hasn't done. I read that, and I understand what you're saying. I meant in regards to the current war. Regardless, every other post here says something along the lines of "he has the right to say what he wants". Is anyone here saying he doesn't? I doubt even MLB will deny him expressing himself. (though I have little doubt they would be within their right. Americans have free speech from the government, not their employer). simple statements are more powerful than speeches A well thought out statement can have an imediate impact, yes. The line "'stupidest war ever" is not one of those lines. If it is then we have thousands of brilliant children in teen chat rooms.

posted by justgary at 01:23 PM on July 22

I did some looking. In the fall of 1938, as war was again threatening Europe, Berlin decided to write a "peace" song. He recalled his "God Bless America" from twenty years earlier and made some alterations to reflect the different state of the world. I also found the Guthrie stuff others posted about. I cannot reconcile the differences. I'm not sure it really matters. And garfield, I'm not saying he shouldn't. He can do what he wants. In fact, like others here, I find his actions commendable and honorable. I just disgaree with how he has chosen to express himself. That song is for everyone, not just the part of the US he's demonstrating against. Either way, I guess that doesn't matter too much either.

posted by 86 at 01:24 PM on July 22

i know, bro. I misspoke.

posted by garfield at 01:25 PM on July 22

sorry.

posted by garfield at 01:31 PM on July 22

I guess it perturbs me in an irrational way that protest is news while praise had been all the news. And if one disagreed one wouldn't protest, lest be branded a traitor. If one's views haven't changed much over the past three years, protest being news is irksome, while praise remains unnewsworthy, or in other words, completely acceptable.

posted by garfield at 01:39 PM on July 22

However, his rhetoric ignores reality. I challenge anyone to make a compelling case that shows the Iraq War is the 'stupidest war ever.' What do you want from the guy, a PhD dissertation on the history of war? Should he have sumitted a list of the five stupidest wars in history in no significant order?

posted by crank at 01:46 PM on July 22

It's just God Bless America. It's not like he's refusing to stand for the national anthem -- that actually would be disrespectful. I think that a well-reasoned and tasteful protest is fine. More power to him.

posted by Jugwine at 01:53 PM on July 22

I think a 'Top 5' would've been hilarious.

posted by garfield at 01:54 PM on July 22

No, garfield. Praise is the norm, and hence treated a little differently. There have been literally dozens and dozens of stories and profiles of players who have done patriotic acts or supported the troops or related causes. At least a couple of pieces a week on SportsCenter, a couple more on Outside the Lines, Jim Rome salivates over this stuff, and that's not even including the Fox Sports Empire and all eight hundred of the non-sporting networks, most of which have way more of both a human-interest and a pro-patriotism bent. Athletes who support the war, or the troops, or the government, or all of those, are far from underrepresented in the mainstream media. And one story about a quiet dissenter is not going to tip the scales the other way.

posted by chicobangs at 01:57 PM on July 22

You call that a protest? This is a protest.

posted by kirkaracha at 02:03 PM on July 22

Actually arcade, if he had said 'the iraq war is like, one of the 10 dumbest wars, ever', I would have had a good laugh.

posted by insomnyuk at 02:29 PM on July 22

chico, i hear ya. but the same level of debate (my meaning of newsworthy, i guess) is not sparked when support is shown. In the aggregate, pro is obviously going to outweigh the con. but as you say "one story about a quiet dissenter" brings out the naysayers, and it bugs me because I'd be naysaying the support stories, but probably couldn't survive the backlash.

posted by garfield at 02:50 PM on July 22

You seem to be doing alright in here. And Delgado seems to be holding up just fine in his area of influence as well. My only point was, you don't have to be Pat Tillman to be an athlete who in some small way is supporting the war effort. A bake sale for the troops would make the local news, a successful clothing drive might make national print, and a summer camp for kids with parents overseas (especially if the athlete doing it was even a little bit articulate, as Delgado seems to be) would get you a full feature with Bob Costas. It might not make the same kind of splash as this, but that's because it happens almost every day. (Are you waiting for the first "Garfield, why do you hate America?" post? I could ask it, but I wouldn't really mean it.) And the Iraq war is, like, one of the 10 dumbest wars, evar. Probly. I might have to check that. But it's gotta be up there, and stuff.

posted by chicobangs at 03:41 PM on July 22

Since when is anyone compelled to stand during "God Bless America"? Aside: I was at a concert recently of student musicians who tacked the "Star Spangled Banner" onto their program. They did not open the concert with it, in customary American-gathering fashion but instead played a highly stylized version at the end of their scheduled program -- so stylized in fact that it took a number of measures before any recognized the tune and it was impossible to sing along if any one was so compelled. The first hint of the melody sounded like it was to be a thematic insertion into a larger American medley. When we finally realized that they were butchering, er, playing, the entire tune, people slowly started standing -- but this was a concert of symphonic music. It was so out of place, so bizarre that I must say I felt snared in some kind of jongistic trap. By the end of the song, everyone in the hall was standing except for a very stubborn me and my wife (who is not well versed in these Americanisms having being raised over seas). Aside to the aside: I say butchering because I was in the marching band in high school and l;earned to play the "Star Spangled Banner" correctly and am, as a result, always annoyed when I hear it played or sung with "artisitic license". How is it that no Yankee players have not yet mutliated their ears after hearing this mediocre song sung in the most abusive way possible (referring to the Kate Smith version mentioned in the article -- maybe they are not always treated to the same version)? If I were there every game, I'd skitter away at the first note of that tune.

posted by Dick Paris at 04:31 PM on July 22

"stupidest war ever" His english is still better than my spanish.

posted by usfbull at 04:43 PM on July 22

Though I respect Delgado's protest, I've always liked "God Bless America" (though that bald tenor's version sung at New York is a beating). People seem to receive it as a statement of fact (i.e. God blessed America), but the lyrics and history suggest it's a request.

posted by rcade at 05:13 PM on July 22

I would imagine that pretty much every player, in every sports, pro and amateur, is onanistic. I don't really see how that's any kind of epithet, to be honest. Just good clean fun.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:38 PM on July 22

well said chico. and though you didn't ask, I'll respond. No, of course I don't hate America. But I question it more than the average bear.

posted by garfield at 07:38 PM on July 22

All I know is I want "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" back in the 7th. I go to the game to get away from all the bullshit that is the daily news, not revel in it.

posted by pivo at 10:15 PM on July 22

Good on him.

posted by rushmc at 09:17 AM on July 23

hoping that a pro athlete would be able to use descriptive phrases more complex than that of a 6th grader Expanding on what usfbull said, achieving a 6th grade vocabulary in a foreign language learned as an adult is a laudable accomplishment. I doubt if any of you could do it. And this *is* the stupidest war ever.

posted by rocket88 at 09:01 PM on July 23

All I know is I want "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" back in the 7th. I go to the game to get away from all the bullshit that is the daily news, not revel in it. Oh, thank heavens...and thank you, pivo, and Dick Paris, and Jugwine. I dislike GBA in a big way, on its own lack of musical merit, because it's weepy and mawkish, but most of all because it is not the national anthem and because a great big pack of people persist as treating it as if it were. And that, to me, is showing disrespect for the national anthem. IOW, I got a long list of reasons ahead of "stupidest war ever" not to stand for GBA, and I think less of the ballplayers of America (and the Yankees in particular) for not bringing up the most important of these reasons before now.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:26 AM on July 24

As a Torontonian (and Blue jay fan) this post is infected with bias - but Delgado is widely respected in baseball as being the exact opposite of the selfish bore that is plaguing sports. His community work at home in Puerto Rico is equaled here, he is well-spoken and exceedingly intelligent. The guy just drives a friggin' BMW for crying out loud. He did not speak of his 'protest' until someone from the local paper asked him where he was. He also spoke to management and informed them of his intentions before he did it. Paul Godfrey, President of the Blue Jays, is vehemently pro-war, just so you don't think there is any institutional sway here either. Put simply, this guy is one of the classiest dudes in all of sports. I would not be surprised if he took a wicked pay cut and resigned. But Riccardi is really pissed at him for not waiving the no-trade.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:26 PM on July 25

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